MARIN COUNTY, Calif. – The state is recreating is entire water management system in an attempt to catch up with water unreliability brought about by warming climate changes.
“We went from historic rain in October, to warm and dry temperatures in November, more historic storms in December and then, absolutely dry conditions in January and February,” said Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth.
The California Department of Water Resources now sees precipitation coming in fits and starts with atmospheric river deluges. No longer can we rely on it coming steadily over the rainy season.
Old computer and other prediction tools, based on a now bygone climate situation, no longer provide accurate information. “We’re facing a lot of new extremes and expect to as the world continues to warm,” said State Climatologist Dr. Michael Anderson.
So, to far better forecast how weather now works and affects the state’s water supply, the state will vastly expand the number of above ground and underground aquifer sensors. Far more aircraft and satellite imaging will look above and below ground for more precise information, literally down to the square foot. To tie this all together, lightning speed, artificially intelligence super computers are being developed and deployed. “We’re developing machine learning and physically based models, and most important, the expertise to run those models,” said State Hydrologist David Rizzardo.
Marin’s water situation is remarkable compared to almost everywhere else. Thanks to so-called atmospheric rivers in October and December, Phoenix Reservoir, almost dry last fall, is part of the Marian Municipal Water Districts small network of reservoirs now 95% full. “That’s 110% of the historical average for this same date,” said
Adrienne Mertens, Public Information Officer for the Marin Municipal Water District.
Outdoor irrigation will now be allowed twice a week. So, it’s use it or lose it to evaporation. But, restrictions on driveway car washing, power washing, street or sidewalk cleaning, dust control, connections for newly installed landscaping, filling of empty or new swimming pools as well as other prohibitions remain in effect.
“We have water security through next year and even the year beyond,” said Mertens. But, since no one knows if that will hold, which is why Marin continues to explore a pipeline from the East Bay over the San Rafael Bridge.